Chubby Johnson (Charles Rutledge Johnson)
Charles “Chubby” Johnson (August 13, 1903 – October 31, 1974) was an American film and television supporting character actor with a genial demeanor and warm country-accented voice perfect for westerns. A native of Terre Haute, Indiana, Johnson was a journalist and radio announcer before he entered film and television when he was past forty years of age. Beginning with the Randolph Scott western Abilene Town, which also starred Ann Dvorak and Edgar Buchanan, in which he had an uncredited part as a homesteader, Johnson made more than eighty screen appearances between 1946 and 1972. He appeared in eight different roles between 1957 and 1961 in the ABC/Warner Brothers television series Maverick, often as a comical stagecoach driver or deputy. In 1959, Johnson was cast as Sheriff Ed Wilson in the episode “The Twisted Road” of the syndicated Rex Allen western series, Frontier Doctor. With a surprise ending, the episode features Robert Vaughn and Virginia Christine as a brother and sister. That same year he played the stagecoach driver first suspected as a fraud in the episode “The Avengers” (May 12, 1959) of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Sugarfoot, starring Will Hutchins in the title role.
In 1960, Johnson was cast with Virginia Gregg in the roles of Jessie and Julie Turnbull in the episode, “The Last Days of Jessie Turnbull”, of the ABC western drama, The Man from Blackhawk, starring Robert Rockwell as a roving insurance investigator. In 1960 Johnson also appeared as “Charlie Pringle” in an episode of the Boris Karloff hosted anthology television series “Thriller (U.S. TV series)” starring Jack Carson titled “The Big Blackout”. From 1962 to 1972, he appeared eight times on NBC’s Bonanza. In the 1960s, Johnson appeared four times on CBS’s Gunsmoke, three times on ABC’s The Guns of Will Sonnett with Walter Brennan. and three times on ABC’s “The Rifleman”, first in 1960 as “Kansas Sawyer” in the episode “The Horse Trader”, then in 1960 as “Mr. Avery” married to Ellen Corby in “The Spoiler” and then in 1962 in “Guilty Conscience” as “the old man”. Johnson guest starred three times as Buzz, the salvage man, on the CBS children’s sitcom, Dennis the Menace, with Jay North as young Dennis Mitchell. Johnson’s episodes are “The School Play ” and “Dennis and the Pee Wee League” (both 1961) and “The Treasure Chest” (1962). In the 1950s western-themed adventure series, Sky King, starring Kirby Grant and Gloria Winters, Johnson played Jim Bell, the ranch foreman. In 1963, he was cast as Concho in several episodes of NBC’s Temple Houston, starring Jeffrey Hunter in the title role. Late in his career, he appeared twice on the syndicated western anthology series, Death Valley Days.
- August, 13, 1903
- Terre Haute, Vigo County Indiana
- October, 31, 1974
- Hollywood, California
- Woodlawn Cemetery
- Las Vegas, Nevada